Field Notes

The Martinez

The Martinez

This little known cocktail has been making Gin lovers happy since well over a 100 years. Thought to be introduced about 20 years after the Civil War in the beautiful state of California, the Martinez is a niche beverage that combines some of the 
Michael Smith
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The Negroni

The Negroni

The Negroni is said to have originated in Italy, sometime in the early 1900s and as all good things, invented out of necessity. A local Italian bartender decided he needed to "strengthen" his Americano cocktail (not the coffee drink).  He decided to
Michael Smith
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Recipe - Classic Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Recipe - Classic Slow Cooker Pot Roast

That chuck roast or sirloin tip roast that is staring at you in your deep freezer from the beef share you just bought, this will help you.

Although my favorite method is the smoked chuck roast, sometimes we don't have the time to commit to managing a smoker or even the desire. This recipe is a classic you set before you leave for work and arrive home with a complete meal. 

Michael Smith
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Rendering Pork Back Fat - Silky White Porcine Luxury

Rendering Pork Back Fat - Silky White Porcine Luxury

There are a lot of things we have learned in our short time owning a little farm. Some are dramatic (cows trying to leap fences) while some are so subtle and so simple and yet provide tremendous joy.

One such item is lard

Michael Smith
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Recipe - Smoked Chuck Roast Sandwiches

Recipe - Smoked Chuck Roast Sandwiches

I may be wrong but I don't think people buy chuck roasts as much as the old days. Maybe they do but I do know this, when you buy a share of beef, you will definitely get some chuck roasts as part of the cuts package. You can make a good pot roast that will stick to your ribs of course, or you can do it this way, which is my preferred method.  
Michael Smith
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Recipe - Pancetta, Italian-Style Bacon

Recipe - Pancetta, Italian-Style Bacon

I have made “American-style” bacon, pastrami, guanciale, corned beef, jerky, and a few other items that now fill our freezer. In most cases I have found that you can definitely save money by doing it yourself, but it certainly takes time and effort.

Now that you have your own pork belly, we should talk about one of my absolute favorites, pancetta. 

Michael Smith
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Recipe - Home Cured Bacon

Recipe - Home Cured Bacon

I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give. -Thomas Jefferson

I have purchased all kinds of bacon over the years. From the thin, slimy stuff, to thick-cut, “artisanal” bacon, and now my very own.

Michael Smith
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Live Weight vs Hanging Weight

Live Weight vs Hanging Weight

These are fancy cattle with good carcass genetics from registered Angus cows, bred by the top Angus and Wagyu bulls available, animals that we have raised with care and kindness. Pigs too.

Let’s assume an average sized 20 to 24-month-old animal weighs approximately 1,200-1400 lbs.; that weight is called the “live weight.” Once the animal is slaughtered, the skin, head, non-usable organs, and hooves are removed, and the carcass is split down the middle. This part of the process is done at the farm.

Michael Smith
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Our Bitters Project

Our Bitters Project

As there has been a whiskey renaissance, a bitters revival also has happened, especially in the past 15 or so years. Pre-prohibition, there were 100’s of different bitters brands, whittled down to two, and stayed that way until the 1950’s where Fee Bros introduced their now well-recognized (and delicious) citrus bitters. Now, in 2019, there are dozens and dozens of commercial brands again, not to mention all of the hobby/bar/home batch enthusiasts (like me) who have not only come to appreciate the history, but have now become obsessed with collecting, and in the case of the home-maker, searching far and wide for ingredients to give their bottles a uniqueness in their home liquor cabinet.
Michael Smith
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Recipe - Beef Stock

Recipe - Beef Stock

One of the staples of the pantry should be beef and chicken stock and since you probably received a bunch of bones from the beef you committed to this year, you should be able to make a lot of it and store in restaurant-style take out containers for the fridge, ziplock bags laid flat in the freezer (not the best) or pressure canned for your larder. 
Michael Smith
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Recipe - Chicken Stock

Recipe - Chicken Stock

In addition to making beef stock, you should ALWAYS have chicken stock on hand.  Whether you raise your own meat birds or even grab a rotisserie from your local grocer, keep the bones and make your own stock! You will love it!
Michael Smith
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Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is one of those cocktails that dates back well over 100 years...pre-prohibition. I would guess that this great cocktail helped get the law that enacted Prohibition passed. It is THAT GOOD.
Michael Smith
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